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A Trio of Awards for Young Albertan Jazz Star Karl Schwonik!

Alberta based drummer Karl Schwonik has had a busy May and June, being awarded 3 major awards for his work as a performer and composer. It started off with being given the Student Downbeat Award for ‘original song: outstanding performance’, by the renowned Downbeat Magazine in May. Later that month, Karl was informed he was the recipient of the 2010 AFM International Diversity Award: President’s Youth Award from the American Federation of Musicians. Finally, late June saw Karl receive the coveted Lt. Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award for 2010, which was presented by to Karl by the Lt. Governor of Alberta along with a medallion and cheque for $10,000.

The 25 year-old jazz drummer and composer is proud to have been recognized for his work over the past few years, and has become one of the rising stars on the Canadian and North American Jazz scene. His two recent releases ‘Visions from the Farm’ and ‘Chicago Goes West’ have been garnering critical acclaim. Through the challenges of his visual impairment, Karl has pushed himself as an artist to become a force on North American Jazz Landscape.

Karl is set to begin his busy summer touring schedule with a performance at the world renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival, at which point he will be spending the bulk of July touring Alberta with his own group featuring Montreal Jazz Sax legend Remi Bolduc. Dates and information are available at

About the awards:

Lt. Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award for 2010 - The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation has established a program of awards for emerging artists to support and encourage promising artists, early in their careers, while also serving to raise the profile of the arts in Alberta. The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Awards are awarded every second year. Each Award consists of $10,000 and a medallion.

2010 AFM International Diversity Award: President’s Youth Award - Established by the American Federation of Musicians, this award is meant to celebrate outstanding accomplishment in the promotion and celebration of diversity within the music industry. The youth award is for AFM members under the age of 35. The recipient receives $1,000 and crystal Trophy/Plaque.

Student Downbeat Award for ‘Original Song: Outstanding Performance’ in the College Category - Downbeat Magazine, the world’s leading authority on jazz, released its 33rd Annual Student Music Awards. These awards are given to the best young musical talent in colleges and universities across North America.

About Karl Schwonik

Alberta born, award-winning jazz drummer Karl Schwonik grew up on a farm near Gwynne. The son of a band teacher, Karl was exposed to countless musical situations. Fresh out of high school, Schwonik embarked on a tour with 2-time CCMA Nominee Heather-Dawn. This was followed by an invitation to study at the Banff Centre where, he was the youngest artist ever in the long-term career residency program. Karl has been recorded by CBC Radio 2 as a part of a new series ‘NEXT: Canada’s Music Future’ and also for national broadcast on ‘Canada Live!’

Schwonik is an inspiration to the visually impaired. He is a truly decorated professional, beyond his years: in addition to his recent awards, Karl has received the 2009 VSA Arts International Soloist Award, the 2008 Queen’s Jubilee Award for Excellence in the Arts, and was named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in Calgary in 2009. He has received numerous scholarships to music workshops, and he has been featured in over 100 newspapers and magazines throughout North America. Schwonik’s performing credits include the who’s who list of twenty-first century jazz: Dave Douglas, Chucho Valdes, Dave Liebman, Sonny Fortune, David Braid, Jens Lindeman, P.J. Perry, Tommy Banks, Hugh Fraser, Remi Bolduc and many others.

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